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Former Sargent student charged with two counts of rape, one count of indecent assault and battery

Joseph Hraiz rape case
Joseph Hraiz, a former Boston University undergraduate student. Public court records show Hraiz was charged with two counts of rape and one count of indecent assault and battery Dec. 15 while still an undergraduate student at BU. COURTESY OF JOSEPH HRAIZ VIA FACEBOOK

The following article contains mentions of sexual assault.

Update: BU spokesperson Colin Riley confirmed on April 12 that Joseph Hraiz is currently enrolled at BU.

A former Boston University undergraduate student was charged with two counts of rape and one count of indecent assault and battery on a person over 14 on Dec. 15, according to public court records obtained by The Daily Free Press. 

The charges stemmed from an April 2021 incident, wherein Joseph Hraiz, a then-student at the Sargent College of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, sexually assaulted a woman in a friend’s dormitory on Commonwealth Ave., according to court reports.

According to LinkedIn, Hraiz completed a Bachelor of Science in Human Physiology at BU in 2021. A post on Campus Survivors — a BU-based Instagram page where survivors of sexual violence can share their stories anonymously — described Hraiz as a “current BU dental student.” 

It is unclear at this time if Hraiz is currently enrolled at BU. 

Hraiz pleaded not guilty to all charges Jan. 4. He was released from court on the conditions he does not try to contact the accuser or their mutual friends or further abuse the accuser, according to court records.

The incident was reported to the BU Police Department a “couple of months” after the incident, BU spokesperson Colin Riley wrote in an email.

“BUPD assisted the victim, conducted an investigation and brought the case to the District Attorney’s office,” Riley wrote.

BUPD declined to comment.

What happened

According to the court statement, Hraiz, the accuser and their friend — who is identified in the statement as “MW” — made plans to drink the night of April 24, 2021. The accuser smoked marijuana prior to her arrival and all three “drank multiple glasses of wine,” the statement reads.

The accuser fell asleep on MW’s bed but was later told to move to the floor and was provided with blankets. Hraiz also slept on the floor, “next to the bed and a couple of feet from the victim,” the court statement reads.

On the morning of April 25, Hraiz committed nonconsensual sexual acts on the accuser as she pretended to be asleep, “too shocked and fearful to resist.”

“Instead she froze,” the court statement reads.

Following the incident, Hraiz went to the bathroom, came back and fell asleep. The accuser, who was “feeling the effects of the alcohol she had consumed earlier,” also went back to sleep but woke up later in the morning, packed her stuff and left. 

Hraiz attempted to contact the accuser later that day and again on April 28 to apologize. On April 30, Hraiz texted a mutual friend of the accuser saying that “it is sexual assault and I want to try to make things better for [the victim]… I am begging for ur help,” the court statement reads.

A rape conviction carries with it a prison sentence of “life or for any term of years,” according to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts General Laws.

There is no standing legal definition for “indecent assault and battery” in the state of Massachusetts. There have been at least two separate petitions brought forth by members of MA legislation that sought to define the term.

Renee Algarin, deputy director of communications for the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office, defined indecent assault and battery as any “non-consensual sexual touching, that is not penetration.”

A person accused of indecent assault and battery on a person over the age of 14 faces up to five years in prison, or up to two and a half years in a jail or “house of correction,” the General Laws state.

An arraignment was held on Jan. 4, and a pre-trial conference will take place on March 31. A pre-trial hearing is set for June 22 and a final pre-trial conference is set for Dec. 20. The jury trial is scheduled to take place on Jan. 3, 2023.

The attorney for the defense did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

The University also declined to comment.

If you have experienced sexual harassment, assault or violence, you can file a confidential report with the University’s Title IX office or contact the Boston University Police Department at 617-353-2121. Further information on sexual misconduct resources is available here and sexual misconduct off-campus can be reported to the Boston Police Sexual Assault Unit at 617-343-4400.

Campus News Editor Jesús Marrero Suárez contributed to the reporting of this article.


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